Premium small Car of the Year 2015: MINI Cooper
The Mini Cooper is the 2015 Auto Express Premium Small Car of the Year, with the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3 commended
The MINI Cooper has retained its place as the best premium small car. The three-door Cooper was our overall Car of the Year in 2014, and with its retro design and customisable charm, it’s as popular as ever – the revised Audi A1 and DS 3 haven’t quite managed to knock it off its perch.
MINI started the upmarket small car revolution at the turn of the millennium, and it’s gone from strength to strength. That’s thanks to a nimble chassis, plenty of personalisation options, and the classy and classless MINI image. Now in its third generation, the MINI packs in even more tech.
Its downsized 1.2 and 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol and diesel turbos pull hard but deliver running costs to rival those of cheaper city cars. With CO2 emissions from 89g/km, you can run the car on a shoestring when it comes to fuel and road tax – and at the other end of the scale there’s the scorching 228bhp MINI John Cooper Works that’ll delight hot hatch fans.
Adding a MINI five-door has further improved the appeal, with easier access to the retro cabin. Inside, its packaging is a big improvement, and with parent firm BMW donating infotainment tech, the MINI gives off an air of class – but importantly it’s still punctuated by a sense of fun thanks to touches such as the trademark oversized central speedo and sixties-inspired toggle switches.
The winning formula continues to work, yet MINI’s still put the effort in where it counts. No matter what the model, the Brit brand’s hatches are great to drive with a controlled, comfortable ride that eclipses its predecessor’s. A long list of advanced safety tech rounds off a delicious recipe.
MINI Cooper (£15,485)
It’s not the most efficient model in the MINI range, but the Cooper still claims 62.8mpg, which isn’t bad when you consider the engine also packs a healthy 134bhp. That means you pay a bargain £20 in road tax – and when you combine it with head-turning looks and that grippy, nimble chassis, this MINI presents fun motoring that won’t break the bank.
New, more efficient three-cylinder engines, a gentle makeover and extra technology make this revised Audi A1 the most appealing version yet. As with the MINI, there are high-efficiency models as well as a more practical five-door Sportback option and an S1 hot hatch, meaning this compact Audi caters for all tastes.
Last year, DS launched as an brand in its own right. Dropping the Citroen tag has arguably improved its image, and this facelifted DS 3 boasts class-leading CO2 emissions and, for the very first time, autonomous braking. Combined with the attractive exterior and interior design updates, it’s a very strong opening salvo from the DS marque.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2015
For complete, in-depth coverage of the New Car Awards 2015, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now...
- 1IntroductionThe winners of the 2015 Auto Express New Car Awards have been announced
- 2Car of the Year 201512 years since the first generation model took the crown, the new Volvo XC90 is the 2015 Auto Express Car of the Year
- 3City car of the year 2015The Skoda Citigo is the 2015 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Hyundai i10 and Renault Twingo commended
- 4Supermini of the Year 2015The Volkswagen Polo is the 2015 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the Mazda 2 and Skoda Fabia commended
- 5Premium small Car of the Year 2015 - currently readingThe Mini Cooper is the 2015 Auto Express Premium Small Car of the Year, with the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3 commended
- 6Compact family Car of the Year 2015The SEAT Leon is the 2015 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the MINI 5dr and Skoda Octavia commended
- 7Family Car of the Year 2015The Skoda Superb is the 2015 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Mazda 6 and Volkswagen Passat commended
- 8Estate Car of the Year 2015The Volkswagen Passat Estate is the 2015 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the SEAT Leon ST and Skoda Octavia Estate commended
- 9MPV of the Year 2015The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is the 2015 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 10Crossover of the Year 2015The Nissan Qashqai is the 2015 Auto Express Crossover of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Cactus and Mazda CX-3 commended
- 11Compact SUV of the Year 2015The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the 2015 Auto Express Compact SUV of the Year, with the Dacia Duster and Porsche Macan commended
- 12Large SUV of the Year 2015The Volvo XC90 is the 2015 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Kia Sorento and Range Rover Sport commended
- 13Pick-Up Truck of the Year 2015The Mitsubishi L200 is the 2015 Auto Express Pick-Up Truck of the Year, with the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok commended
- 14Hot Hatch of the Year 2015The SEAT Leon Cupra is the 2015 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI commended
- 15Convertible of the Year 2015The Audi A3 Cabriolet is the 2015 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the BMW 4 Series and Porsche 911 Convertible commended
- 16Coupe of the Year 2015The Audi TT is the 2015 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Type and Porsche Macan commended
- 17Roadster of the Year 2015The Mazda MX-5 is the 2015 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Type and Porsche Boxster commended
- 18Performance Car of the Year 2015The Porsche 911 GTS is the 2015 Auto Express Performance Car of the Year, with the McLaren 650S and Mercedes-AMG GT commended
- 19Compact executive Car of the Year 2015The Jaguar XE is the 2015 Auto Express Compact executive Car of the Year, with the BMW 3 Series and Lexus IS commended
- 20Executive Car of the Year 2015The Audi A6 is the 2015 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series and Tesla Model S commended
- 21Luxury Car of the Year 2015The Mercedes S-Class is the 2015 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Mulsanne Speed and Range Rover commended
- 22Van of the Year 2015The Ford Transit is Auto Express' Van of the Year 2015, with the Fiat Doblo Cargo and Vauxhall Vivaro commended
- 23Green Car of the Year 2015The BMW i3 is the 2015 Auto Express Green Car of the Year, with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Peugeot 208 BlueHDi commended
- 24Technology Award 2015GM's OnStar service wins the Auto Express 2015 Technology Award
- 25Car Advertising Campaign of the Year 2015Honda is known for its inventive and captivating adverts, and the latest Civic Type R is no different
- 26Readers' Design Award 2015We asked you what your favourite car design is for 2015, and the new Jaguar XF has taken the crown
- 27Social Media Award 2015Social media is all about interacting with your audience, and we've named Toyota the best social media brand of 2015
- 28Driver Power Award 2015Lexus has long been a force to be reckoned with in our Driver Power survey. This year the brand scoops the Driver Power Award
- 29Hall of Fame 2015We've inducted GM's Executive Vice President and President for North America Alan Batey into our hall of fame, plus the Land Rover Defender